“Live At The House Of Blues” by Travers and Appice

Artist: Travers & Appice
Release: “Live At the House of Blues”
Label: Escapi Music
Date: 7/15/2005
Genre: Rock
Rating: 6.5

Like blues artists of the 1950’s who stayed on the road playing the “chitlin circuit” throughout the 1960’s lots of classic rock’s stalwarts are still out touring today. Bands such as Mountain, Blue Oyster Cult & Derringer, continue playing small venues to appreciative lifelong fans and younger listeners who have picked up on them in retrospect. In an industry that courts younger and younger audiences with equally youthful “stars”, it tends to be problematic to be considered “past your prime”. In reality, after a lifetime of chops building, many of these musicians are playing the best they ever have in their entire careers. This pairing of Vanilla Fudge’s Carmine Appice and Guitarist Pat Travers offers listeners a sonic snap shot of their House of Blues show. The power trio format has been a staple configuration for these musicians and with bassist T. M. Stevens they present an extremely well played set of songs from various points in their careers.

The trio keeps things fresh with songs “Can’t Escape the Fire”, “Taken” and “I Don’t Care”, which hail from the recent Travers/Appice album It Takes A Lot of Balls, and interesting with obscurities like “Living Alone” which originated on Beck, Bogert & Appice’s only studio album. Their arrangement of “Evil”, the Howlin’ Wolf tune written by Willie Dixon, is one of the CD’s highlights. It is a song originally done by Carmine’s post Fudge band Cactus and is appropriately reminiscent of similar re-workings of Dixon’s tunes by Led Zeppelin and Jeff Beck Group. Both bands toured with Vanilla Fudge during the late sixties. These musician’s all had respect for each other’s talents as well as a respect and love for the same kind of music, electrified Chicago blues. This heavy blues rendition of “Evil” (with drum solo and audience participation section) rings true here and would have been at home on the stage of the Fillmore 35 years ago.

The attempted rock rendition of “Do You Think I’m Sexy” which was written by Carmine (with Rod Stewart) during his long tenure in the Stewart back up band is the only miss-step here. Although it’s ubiquitous radio play over the years may make it a great “pot boiler” for the drummer, it is completely out of place in this setting. Travers’ “Snortin’ Whiskey”, his cover of Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited”, or even B,B &A’s guitar driven version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” would have been much more appropriate. The crowd-pleasing cover of Little Walter’s “Boom, Boom (Out Go the Lights)” (which has long been Traver’s signature tune) along with the upbeat “Keep On Rockin’” close out the set in great boogie fashion.

Track Listing:
1. Taken
2. Better From A Distance
3. I Don’t Care
4. Crash And Burn
5. Living Alone
6. Gotta Have You
7. Turn Me On
8. Can’t Escape The Fire/La, La Love
9. Evil
10. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy
11. Boom, Boom
12. Keep On Rockin

Official Web site: www.CarmineAppice.net
Official Web site: www.PatTravers.com

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